Class of 2020

This isn't life on pause. This isn't the new normal.
This is the Class of 2020.

When schools across the country were closed due to COVID-19, sofas, bedroom floors and kitchen tables became makeshift classrooms for most children in the UK.

We’re following a school in Bedford as they rebuild from the challenges caused by those lost months.

Episode 5: Reflections


It's September. A fresh start for every school. Bedford Academy included. But last year was a year like no other. In our final episode of Class of 2020, see what the summer term meant to the staff and pupils. And join them in celebrating how far they've come as a community.

Disclaimer: filming taken under safety measures and with special permission from the school.

Episode 4: Representation


Representation matters. Something Albert, a Maths and PE teacher at Bedford Academy, knows too well.

In this episode of Class of 2020, we follow Albert and discover why mentoring and open conversations about race are crucial to his pupils’ futures.

Disclaimer: filming taken under safety measures and with special permission from the school.

Episode 3: Recover


The corridors are busy once again at Bedford Academy.

But while it’s exciting to return to the classroom, there's no quick fix in getting ‘back to normal’. Staff are working to identify gaps in learning - 34% has been lost for poorer secondary school pupils due to COVID-19 - all while making sure pupils feel safe and settled in an environment that’s familiar yet changed.

In this episode of Class of 2020, we follow the staff at Bedford Academy as they support pupils transitioning back into school life, balancing COVID testing and ongoing discussions about exams and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: filming taken under safety measures and with special permission from the school.

Episode 2: Resilience


As another lockdown begins, headteacher Chris Deller and his team at Bedford Academy are working hard to keep spirits up.

But things are tough. The number of cases are rising, families are struggling to make ends meet and the ongoing challenges of online learning are a serious issue.

Teach First research has found that over a third of parents (37%) have at least one child with no exclusive use of a device for schoolwork. Almost three in five (59%) parents in England are worried about how prepared their children are to transition into the next academic year.

So how can Bedford Academy stop over a thousand children from falling behind?

In this episode of Class of 2020, we see how the staff at Bedford Academy go above and beyond to not only help with their pupils’ education, but to care for their wellbeing too.

Disclaimer: filming taken under safety measures and with special permission from the school.

Episode 1: Rebuilding


On 20 March 2020, Bedford Academy was forced to close as the country went into lockdown.

Almost 1,200 pupils were sent home for three months, many without the things they needed to learn. Now Bedford Academy are reopening their doors with a new set of challenges to overcome.

In the first episode of Class of 2020, we follow headteacher, Chris Deller, and his team as they prepare for a very different first day of school. 

Disclaimer: filming taken under safety measures and with special permission from the school.

Class of 2020 Yearbook

Get to know the staff and pupils of Bedford Academy.

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Chris Deller, Headteacher at Bedford Academy

Chris Deller

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Teach First trainee Charlie Lamb

Charlie Lamb

History trainee teacher
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Sheeren Mee, English teacher at Bedford Academy

Sheeren Mee

English trainee teacher
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James O'Connor, maths teacher at Bedford Academy

James O'Connor

Maths trainee teacher
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Deputy Headteacher at Bedford Academy Pete Roberts

Pete Roberts

Deputy Headteacher
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Science teacher Camara Jack

Camara Jack

Science teacher
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Founder of the BAME: We Teach network Albert Adeyemi

Albert Adeyemi

PE and maths teacher
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Achievement Leader of History Tessa McLoughlin

Tessa McLoughlin

Achievement Leader of History
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Deputy Headteacher at Bedford Academy Paul House

Paul House

Deputy Headteacher
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Director of Aspiration at Bedford Academy Mandy Green

Mandy Green

Director of Aspiration
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Inside Bedford Academy

Bedford Academy is part of the High Expectations Achievement Respect Trust (HEART Academies Trust) in Bedfordshire, East of England.

Their motto is 'the BA Way', which embodies the school’s vision of being community-minded, driven and aspirational.

Bedford Academy
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The school first partnered with Teach First in 2012. They have recruited trainee teachers through the Training Programme, and have developed their staff through our Early Career Framework and NPQ programmes.

A teacher walks through the halls of Bedford Academy
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There are around 1,200 pupils in the school aged 11-18.

16.8% are eligible for free school meals, and for 40.4% of pupils English is a second language.

In 2019, 45% of pupils achieved 9-4 in English and maths and 27.1% achieved 9-5 in English and maths.

Pupils study in Bedford Academy
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Bedford Academy is just over 3 miles from the town centre, which has a population of 153,000 people.

Historically the local industry was wool and lace, but now the most advertised jobs in the area are administration, programmers and software development professionals.

3.6% of the adults in Bedford are unemployed, and 57 ethnic groups are represented within the community.

Rainbow thank you signs at Bedford Academy
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Important info on COVID-19

The Class of 2020 is filmed by Teach First with special permission from Bedford Academy, which has increased its health and safety measures in accordance with government advice. Masks or visors are worn by the filming crew, and social distancing protocols are followed at all times. All filming equipment is regularly cleaned and sanitised.

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